Greater Cleveland RTA’s popular 51 family of routes became the new MetroHealth Line at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.
The MetroHealth Line was developed as part of a naming rights agreement between RTA and The MetroHealth System, executed earlier this year, to rebrand the No. 51 family of routes. Those routes have the second highest bus ridership after the HealthLine.
“The number 51 bus route operates 24/7 and serves 2.1 million customers each year,” said RTA CEO/GM Joe Calabrese. “That makes the MetroHealth Line the second highest bus route in the RTA network, right behind the HealthLine.”
“Like the HealthLine, we know that the MetroHealth Line will be a catalyst to the revitalization of the West 25th Street corridor, just like we have seen on Euclid Avenue,” Calabrese said.
The rebranded route will offer commuters an upgraded ride on 20 new, specially designed vehicles fully branded with the MetroHealth logo. More than 400 bus stop signs and 37 shelters will also display the new logo along the routes.
The 51-A, 51-B, and 51-C operate more than 200 bus trips per day and link the MetroHealth campus with both Downtown Cleveland to the north and the neighborhoods and suburbs to the south.
MetroHealth has five health care facilities along the route.
A catalyst for change
“The health of our community is of great importance to us and we are doing everything we can to make all of Cleveland as healthy as can be, including working with community partners like the RTA,” said MetroHealth President/CEO, Akram Boutros. “We are looking to catalyze change and the MetroHealth Line is part of a robust effort to make sure our neighborhood becomes a self-sustaining, vibrant area.”
RTA is working with partners, the city and the neighborhoods to later add some exclusive rush-hour bus lanes and traffic signal prioritization, with the goal to make the MetroHealth Line faster and more reliable.
In 2008, RTA became the first transit system in the nation to sell naming rights sponsorships to its assets. That was for the HealthLine.
“Since its launch, the HealthLine has seen annual ridership increase by 60 percent and has generated more than $6.3 billion in economic development along Euclid Avenue,” Calabrese said.
In December 2014, RTA launched the Cleveland State Line, serving Downtown and several West Side communities. Since then, ridership has almost doubled.